Eloping at sunset or sunrise, what are the pros and cons?

One big decision when it comes to creating a timeline for your elopement timeline is what time of day you want to have your elopement ceremony and have your couples’ portraits taken. Sunrise and sunset are favourite times among photographers to take pictures because of the golden lighting and vibrant colours that are caused by the sun being low in the sky. In sunny climates, midday sunlight can create harsh under-eye shadows, which is why the middle of the day is when I usually recommend doing indoor photos, getting ready photos, traveling or hiking, doing activities, or hanging out and relaxing.

So which is right for you? Is one better than the other? These are personal decisions, and like a lot of elopement decisions, there is no right or wrong answer…only what is right for you. So, I am going to run through some of the pros and cons of eloping at sunrise and eloping at sunset, let’s do this.

Pros of eloping at sunset

Let me start with the first and most important point…you can sleep in! If you’re a morning person this won’t make sense to you, but to many couples, this is where it’s at!

You’ll also be far more awake by the time you start getting ready and getting photographed. If you do a sunrise ceremony, you will likely be up getting done at about 3am, so you’ll still be half asleep. A sunset ceremony means you’ll probably start getting done up well after lunch, so you’ll be fed, have some drinks under your belt and be fully awake.

For many couples, sunset has a special meaning to them. Perhaps you popped the question at sunset. Perhaps you had your first date at a beach at sunset. My wife and I used to go every single afternoon to the beach for sunset and just sit and chill, so sunsets feel connected to us.

Finally, you’ll also find it much easier to get vendors for your day at sunset, a lot of vendors who have kids for example won’t be able to swing a sunrise ceremony, but sunset means getting babysitters is much easier, so you’ll have a bigger vendor pool to dive into.

Cons of eloping at sunset

The major downside of eloping at sunset is that depending on the location, things can get quite busy. In popular spots you will always find hobby photographers, couples, or other weddings at sunset. Thankfully you’ve got me, so I’ll try help you find a location at sunset that still won’t be too crowded.

You also might find it hard to get some kind of after elopement celebration going on due to the time. In locations with a late sunset, you might not finish until 9pm or 9.30pm, so most restaurants will be closed by then. So, while you will have the option of having a great pre-elopement meal/drink, you might be limited for what you can do after.

Pros of eloping at sunrise

The most obvious pro is that it can often be more intimate and secluded. In many spots, people love to come out for sunset picnics, or just to gaze, but sunrise poses the challenge of waking up early…many people won’t do that, so you’ll likely have the place to yourself.

In many places, early morning presents better weather too. In hot locations, you are getting in before the earth has heated up and the humidity has increased. In many places where rain is likely, it often tends to rain late in the afternoon, around sunset, so getting in early can help avoid that.

Finally, it’s an awesome way to start your day. You are up and married by lunch time. So, if you were planning on spending your day doing something you love, rock-climbing, surfing, pub crawling, whatever it may be…you’ll have that option with a sunrise elopement.

Cons of eloping at sunrise

It is so early in the day, that’s the major con. Maybe not so bad for me, as I wouldn’t be starting until maybe 4.30am or 5am, but for you, getting ready, it’s likely to be at least a 3am start. So, without a doubt, unless you are a complete morning person, you may find yourself still half asleep when your coverage begins.

You will also have to trek to your location likely in the dark. For some places this isn’t a big deal, but if you are on a trail, or along a ridge line or a cliff, this can get sketchy. We always have headlamps and torches with us for these situations, but obviously things like rolling an ankle or tripping over and ripping part of your outfit become much easier, which would suck.

Regardless of which way you want to go in terms of the time of your elopement ceremony, just remember, it’s about what works for you. This isn’t a wedding, there will be no compromises for other people. If you want to elope at sunrise on a volcano in Hawaii, then do it. Find the vendors who will gladly become a part of your adventure. If you want to elope at sunset at a popular spot, don’t let anyone tell you that you cant or shouldnt do it, it’s your day, go for it.

If you are ready to chat about your elopement, simply hit me up and contact me here so we can get started working out a plan for your elopement.

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